OWINGS MILLS – Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan left Saturday’s practice early, while rookie wide receiver Chris Moore did not practice. Coach John Harbaugh did not meet with the media after practice, and no reason was immediately given for either absence. ESPN reported that Jernigan suffered a minor rib area strain that was not considered serious.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers took the field for this first training camp practice, after finally passing the conditioning test. Powers was the lone player remaining who had not passed the test.
In addition to the five players on the PUP list, tight end Crockett Gillmore (hamstring) and running back Kenneth Dixon (knee) did not practice.
In a roster move, the Ravens signed punter Michael Palardy to fill their open roster spot. Sam Koch, a Pro Bowl selection in 2015, is firmly entrenched as the Ravens’ punter. However, Palardy can take practice reps while the Ravens work their punt returners, reducing some of the strain on Koch’s leg.
Matt Wieters is back in the Orioles lineup, playing a day game after a night game. On Friday night, Wieters was nearly tossed out of the game for complaining to home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez about a pitch in the eighth inning.
Manager Buck Showalter rushed out to intercede, and Wieters was saved from his third lifetime ejection. His previous two, including one this year, came against Toronto.
Wieters comments to reporters in Toronto were most interesting.
“You know, all night, I thought they were getting the low pitch more than we were," Wieters said. "I thought they got a little bit bigger zone, but the biggest thing that frustrated me was when the umpire is telling me to get back in the box.
“I feel like you have [to take] time and an umpire is more worried about pace of game and the players are more worried about trying to win a game. I’m trying to try to calm down and I needed to step out of the box because I thought the ball was low and he’s trying to rush me back in the box and I just didn’t appreciate that.”
When Wieters was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Bellino on Apr. 21 in Baltimore he wasn’t quite as critical, but did manage to get his point across.
“I don’t like to get them, but I said some things I probably shouldn’t have. He just hit a nerve a little bit, especially the checked swing because they do have the option to get help. It was just, I thought it was a little bit inconsistent behind the plate for most of the night,” Wieters said.
The surprising acquisition of Logan Ondrusek shouldn’t really be all that surprising. Over his five years with the Orioles, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette has shown himself to be inventive about filling holes.
He’ll sign players other teams have released, look to independent leagues for help, and in this case, sign an American who wasn’t happy playing in Japan.
The Orioles have been looking for an additional situational left-hander in the bullpen. They tried Brian Matusz, Brian Duensing, Ashur Tolliver and Donnie Hart. They even tried Jayson Aquino and Ariel Miranda for a game each.
Over last winter they signed Jeff Beliveau, who has substantial major league experience, but was returning off labrum surgery. In spring training, Buck Showalter said that he hoped Beliveau could help the Orioles by May. It’s late July, and Beliveau is still in Frederick. (He’s 4-0 with a 2.80 ERA.)
Matusz was traded in May. Duensing had elbow surgery, and can’t return for another three weeks. Tolliver and Hart were impressive when they were promoted from Bowie.
Aquino and Miranda were quickly sent back to Bowie and Norfolk.
T.J. McFarland, who’s more of the long man-type has spent this month on the disabled list with a knee injury and could return next month, but he’s not a situational guy.
Enter Ondrusek. He’s somewhat better against left-handers than right-handers. In his five seasons with Cincinnati, lefties hit .236 while righties batted .258. His strikeout/walk ratio is far better against left-handers (2.35 vs. 1.63) than right-handers.
While Mychal Givens has had his issues against left-handers, though there’s some indication that that’s changing, Ondrusek gives Showalter a quasi-left hand option.